By Kristen Miller
DARWIN, MN - The Darwin Lions Club, with a membership of 35, recently celebrated 25 years as a club with its five original charter members; Mark Johnson, Pat Hansen, Jim Riehle, Don Huhn, and Chris Hansen.
Recent service projects have included contributing to the “Welcome to Darwin” sign that was installed in the fall on both ends of town along Highway 12.
In the summer of 2007, the Lions Club members got out their shovels and gloves and improved the landscaping to the east end of the city’s park.
The club took down the fence and planted bushes. Flower pots were also purchased and planted, along with Darwin Lions benches.
Donations have been given to the Meeker Memorial Hospital expansion and building project, along with annual $1,000 scholarships to both a Dassel-Cokato senior and a Litchfield senior.
The club also gives to various Lions International projects, including its sight program.
For this program, the club collects used eyeglasses for redistribution through the sight program.
According to the Lions Clubs International web site, when the tsunami struck the area of Sri Lanka in 2004, more than 100,000 pairs of eyeglasses were provided through the program.
The Darwin Lions Club has two drop-off sites to recycle used eyeglasses both Farmers State Bank locations in Darwin and Dassel.
“Wherever there is a need, we try to give,” said Darwin Lions Club president Josh Johnson.
There are several fundraisers throughout the year which allow the Darwin Lions to give when needs arise.
The clubs most successful fund raiser to take place during Twine Ball Day, which the club sells burgers, brats, and refreshments during the hot August festival.
Last year, the club raised approximately $4,000.
This year, the festival will be Saturday, Aug. 8.
In January, the club hosts Las Vegas Stag Night, which includes drinks and a prime rib dinner.
Throughout the night, games are played including craps, poker, and Black Jack at the Darwin Rod and Gun Club.
In October, the club hosts the Texas Hold’em Tourney.
The club meets the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Darwin Rod and Gun Club.
“We have a really fun bunch and good attendance,” Johnson said, adding the club has been growing steadily throughout the years.
The next big event is the Lions International convention that will take place this year in Minneapolis Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 10. Five members will participate,
Becoming a member of the Darwin Lions ClubThe 2008-09 Darwin Lions Club officers are: ">President Vice President Dave Franzen, Treasurer John Fink, Secretary Kim Keithahn, Tail Twister Chris Hansen, Lion Tamer Aaron Hobert